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The Duck Inn Pub & Kitchen

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They say the first year is the hardest. The first birthday of this fun and funky place in the back streets of one of Sydney's oldest suburbs has just been celebrated and, at this re-glorified pub, it seems to have been a dream run.

After a complete makeover there's life in the old place again. The old floorboards have remained, but the interior is fresh now, and there's a tasty menu and plenty of action.

Check out the blog and Facebook page to keep up with it all. For instance on August 12, those exhausted City to Surf-ers (and their pals) are invited to the Great Ducky Dip Party to try their luck in hooking a lucky duck. A rubber one, of course. 

The ducks on the menu are not rubbery though. From August 6-13, there's a tasting plate of duck as well as duck cassoulet on the menu. And then to stay in theme, you could wrap the meal up with a Fluffy Duck shooter!

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However, the night we visited (cold, chilly, needing a good reason not to stay warm at home) we found the perfect solution. There's almost a British pub feel (that's a good thing) to the place. The wave of talk and laughter hits you as you push in from the street. It's warm, it's cosy. It smells good.

It was busy too, and we were seated at the back of the room, the best place to see all the action. Just far enough from King Street not to draw a student crowd, here it seemed that many people knew each other. That's because it's actually a great place for locals to get together - possibly walking from their homes nearby. It's an ideal solution for a night out, because the parking hereabouts is typical of most parts of the inner city.

There's a well-priced (mains $17-$30) full menu and we saw plates of steaks, salmon, salads and burgers passing by to other tables. They were big serves with fries and, judging by the empty plates later, pretty good.

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But I'd been seduced by the idea of the $20 pie and draught beer special, and wasn't disappointed. Flaky pastry round a piping hot tasty filling - perfect as the rain lashed down outside - and flanked by cabbage and peas and fries, served on a board. Actually it was a 'duo of pies' - Belgian braised rabbit pie and fisherman's pie. They were small enough to eat both, but we could have shared them and ordered something else too.

My partner also chose comfort food - bangers and mash - just as good as mine, with chubby lamb and rosemary sausages, a mound of creamy mash and capsicum marmalata adding a sparkle to it. The wine list has plenty to choose from, too, keeping things patriotically Australian, but providing a good selection from all the wine-producing states. 

A pub shouldn't take itself too seriously, and this one gets it just right. Unpretentious, but full of quirky asides such as the Ladies toilet door labelled Ducks, to the faux-library wallpaper, the name itself is its own invitation. You really should 'duck in' and see what's happening here. Soon.

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 The Duck Inn, 73 Rose Street, Chippendale, NSW, +61 2 9319 4415. Open lunch and dinner.

 

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